Saturday, August 12, 2006

One Book

One book that changed my life: Back when I worked at the bookstore, my co-worker and I would roll our eyes whenever we overheard someone say, "This book changed my life!" It's always amused me to hear this claim made about novels, particularly. There may well be novels that can change a person's point of view, or inspire them toward action РVictor Hugo's Les Mis̩rables is often cited as the classic example Рbut I'm more inclined to think of novels as keeping me company (pleasant or otherwise) than shaking me up and turning me around. Were I to name such a novel, it would probably be Robertson Davies' Fifth Business, for its abundance of genuinely subversive mischief. But I think I'll eschew the fictional route for something more tangible, a self-help title that has indeed helped me help myself and deserves credit for a demonstrable change in the way I think and act: The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner.

One book I've read more than once: Ooooh, I love to re-read! But I'd say the book I've re-read most is Moon Palace, by Paul Auster.

One book I'd want on a desert island: probably something with a title like How To Get Off Your Freakin' Island And Back To Civilization.

One book that made me laugh: Oh, man ... anything by David Sedaris. I'll go with Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim.

One book that made me cry: hard to know where to start with this one. I've already mentioned Peter DeVries' Blood Of The Lamb, so I'll go with Peace Like A River by Leif Enger.

One book I wish had never been written: Easy: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion -- a book born from bloodshed, that has inspired bloodshed, and continues to inspire it still. Its only worthwhile byproduct is Will Eisner's final book, The Plot, which I highly recommend.

One book I wish had been written: this one.

One book I'm currently reading: Where God Was Born by Bruce Feiler.

One book I've been meaning to read: A Dance To The Music Of Time by Anthony Powell certainly qualifies, but to be honest, I'm having real trouble finishing Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle – not because it's boring, but because I keep getting distracted by other, shorter works.

One person I tag: YOU!!


Cowtown Pattie said...

Accepted and posted...

Andrew said...

Just posted my version over here. How's the Feiler book? I've only read one by him -- Abraham -- but found it well written in a journalistic sense and enlightening. I need to lend it to my father-in-law in hopes of helping him to understand, at least on a surface level, the intertwining of the three major monotheistic Middle Eastern-based religions.


Whisky Prajer said...

I have to say I find Feiler's first-person narrative a little off-putting. I'm sure he's an engaging guy to be around, but his prose is a touch too "breathless" for my tastes. It feels hyped, to me - but others probably dig it, especially the explornography-prone.

F.C. Bearded said...

Aah - Fifth Business, or more generally the Deptford Trilogy, is exactly the book I would pick (and since I bought the trilogy in a wunnie, it counts as "a book" to me). It changed my life by forever altering the type of literature I would thereafter seek. I bought it thinking it to be a detective novel, but found inside a doorway to a world of wonders.

Yahmdallah said...

My contribution to your "One Book" game/meme. That was fun!